Ben Franklin’s Real Way to Wealth – Part II Frugality

The second section of the Way to Wealth imparts the importance of frugality. It isn’t enough just to earn money, you have to be smart about what you do with it. In this collection of sayings Franklin describes how a lack of frugality will cause financial ruin and describes the temptations that lead people to spend foolishly.


  1. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last
  2. Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship
  3. Buy what thou hast no need of, and before long thou shalt sell thy necessaries
  4. A fat kitchen makes a lean will
  5. Many estates are spent in the getting, Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting, And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.
  6. Think of saving as well as of getting: the Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes
  7. Women and wine, game and deceit, Make the wealth small, and the wants great.
  8. What maintains one vice, would bring up two children
  9. Who dainties love, shall beggars prove
  10. Fools make Feasts, and wise men eat them
  11. Buy what thou hast no need of, and before long thou shalt sell thy necessaries

So many people are left poor because they are extravagant. Frugality is different than cheapness. Frugality is spending wisely and avoiding unnecessary expenses. Do you ever eat out when you could cook, buy new clothes when your old ones are fine, or buy expensive electronics you don’t really need? This undermines all the hard work you do! To build wealth you must save the money you earn.

  1. Wise men learn by others’ harms, fools scarcely by their own
  2. Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire
  3. Ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees
  4. Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom
  5. When the well’s dry, they know the worth of water
  6. If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some
  7. He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing
  8. Fond pride of dress, is sure a very curse; E’er fancy you consult, consult your purse.
  9. Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy.
  10. When you have bought one fine thing you must buy ten more, that your appearance maybe all of a piece
  11. Tis easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it
  12. Great estates may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore.
  13. Pride that dines on vanity sups on contempt
  14. Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy

When people get some money they feel an urge to go spend it. We want to keep up with our friends and neighbors so we go and buy the finest clothes and the newest gadgets. One new purchase leads to another. To become wealthy, you need to overcome your pride and live humbly.

    1. But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities!
    2. When you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty
    3. The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt
    4. Lying rides upon debt’s back





    1. Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue: ’tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright





    1. Creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times





    1. Those have a short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter





    1. The borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor





    1. Disdain the chain, preserve your freedom; and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free





    1. For age and want, save while you may; No morning sun lasts a whole day





    1. Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain





    1. Tis easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel





    1. Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.





    1. Get what you can, and what you get hold;’Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold










The stupidest thing you can do is borrowing money unless absolutely necessary. By doing so, you make the creditor your master and pay much more in the long run. Get over your pride and drive that beat up car for a few more years. Live in a smaller house than your wealthy friends. If you live beyond your means you will pay for it.


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Ben Franklin’s Way to Wealth – Part III Conclusion


Ben Franklin’s Way to Wealth – Part I Industry